Teacher Gifts

As we roll into the last week or so of primary school for the year, you might be considering giving a small Christmas gift to your child’s teacher(s).

I think it’s a nice idea at the end of the year to let teachers know how much they’re appreciated, and it’s also really nice for your kids to be able to give a present to someone who’s such a big part of their daily life.

With this in mind I did a little internet research to see what kinds of things teachers like to receive, and although it seems this varies widely, some gifts that are sure to be well-appreciated include stationery items (including quality journals or notebooks like the ones at The Paper Package:))…  or a diary for next year… a nice bottle of wine…  a book voucher… a lovely Christmas ornament… or even a gift basket. Realising that these involve a bit of cost however, it could be a good idea to join together with other parents to save the budget a little.

And speaking of cost… it really isn’t necessary to spend much money at all. I am sure any teacher would appreciate a heart-felt thank you card or note – especially if you take the time to specifically mention some of the ways that they have helped your child over the year (rather than just a generic “thanks”). And in our internet hunt we’ve also discovered some cute and creative ideas that don’t cost too much, and that could be fun to make with your kids…

Like this Reindeer Lunchbag idea from Family Fun.go.com. This would be great filled with some nice homemade goodies.

And staying with the theme, this cute Flannel Reindeer from Bumble Bee’s Craft Den is a great way of packaging a nice bar of soap…

Likewise this bag of Reindeer Noses (a.k.a.jaffas) from Craft Fairy also makes a super little gift…

Apples and teachers mix well together, so these simple but effective Candy Apple gifts from Somewhat Simple should make the grade…

Or these sweet looking Apple Cupcakes from Makes and Takes

Or what about these lovely sugar’ n ‘spice Apple Cookies (with free printable tags!) from Mum’s Business

For those of you with active little tackers, these rolls of Dynamite from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy are a bit of a blast…

Or for those with more studious offspring here are a couple of fabulous Wise Owl ideas from Lisa Storms

So cute, what a hoot!

Moving on quickly to more pun-filled fun… how great would these sweet bags & “O-fish-ally the Best”  labels from Eighteen25 be filled with that NZ all-time favourite, Chocolate Fish…

And sticking with the puns, these printable Flower Picks from Skip To My Lou look bloomin’ good!

And who could resist this final idea… it’s PRETTY. I don’t think it really matters what is inside the jar, but Simple As That‘s presentation is so simple and sweet it would melt the heart of Miss Trunchbull!

So thanks to all the teachers out there doing a fantastic job, trying to help all our kids get the eduction and opportunities they deserve!! Enjoy your holidays 🙂


D.I.Y. Advent Calendars

Would you like to get your children & family members even more excited about Christmas than ever?? Well an Advent Calendar is definitely the way to go!  But if you’re looking for something different from the standard supermarket version (although it’s hard to knock something that gives you a chocolate a day!), here are some creative and inspiring alternatives for the Christmas Countdown…

[ Click through all images for the original source & more info, instructions, printables etc where available.]

Christmas Advent Garland

A Christmas Advent Garland

Christmas Advent Socks

A Christmas Advent Garland Made of Cute Baby Socks

Santa Sack Advent Calendar

A Santa Sack Advent Calendar

Brown Paper Envelopes Advent Calendar

Beautiful brown paper envelopes with vintage images

Paper Packages

Paper Packages!!

Origami Advent Calendar

Origami Advent Calendar

Book Advent Calendar

Book Advent Calendar

Ornament Advent Calendar

Ornament Advent Calendar

Advent Tree

Advent Tree

Advent Activities

Advent Activities

Advent Activities (bottom image = printable)

Christmas Advent Jar

Christmas Advent Jar

Santa's Beard Advent Calendar

Santa’s Beard Advent Calendar (printable)

Santa's Beard Advent Calendar Version 2 (printable)

Santa’s Beard Advent Calendar Version 2 (also printable)

Wine Bottle Advent Calendar

An Advent Calendar for Mum and Dad??

Happy Christmas Countdown everybody!

Hello Spring!

So after a pretty short (but for some days a very sharp!) winter, we are now officially 6 days into spring. And it’s started out so well with lovely sunny days and crisp mornings. The perfect time for all things new…

Like some new clothes maybe…


This is just for inspiration mind you… that Gucci handbag is over $6000 NZD!!

(this selection’s a steal, with the Miu Miu handbag only $1170 NZD (lol!!)

Add the perfect tint of pink for the nails

or pale blue

And that’s you all set!

Except some new bits and pieces around the house would be nice too…


The Lettered Cottage is the perfect blog for the fresh, clean decorating style that really suits spring. If you click through the image, their blog post has some great tips and ideas for home decoration (on a budget too!)

And some lovely spring flowers sprinkled around the house are always a real pick-me-up…

But if your house is like ours, before you get into the fun of flowers and homewares you might need to do a little bit of SPRING CLEANING (ugh).

If only the laundry looked this good, I might be more inspired to get on and clean (not really true – but I do like the laundry!)…

If you needed it – here’s some inspiration for cleaning the kitchen (SO sparkly!)

And some for the bedroom too…

Plus here’s one handy spring cleaning tip that doesn’t seem too hard – and apparently helps you get that well-deserved good night’s sleep…

(Easy instructions for a clean, fresh mattress from Make it Do).

But if you can’t be bothered with any of that, there’s always the alternative…

Or, even better, get someone else to do it… (and you gotta admit he looks like he’s enjoying it:)

Spring is also a good time to indulge a little of your OCD and get into some serious ORGANISATION (or at least enjoy looking at pictures of things that are really organised!)

Like these tidy desks…

Don’t you wish you could live like that?!

And of course we couldn’t do a blog post without mentioning FOOD…

Spring means fresh greens and perhaps some pastel treats…

Spring Minestrone soup from simplyrecipes.com.

And aren’t these Macarons the perfect shades for spring?

Plus, who can resist lemony cupcakes…

And finally, at The Paper Package we have recently added some gifts that have that lovely spring feel…

Like these Dandelion Fliptop Notecards from New York stationery company, Galison:

Or this lovely gift for women, the Dandelion Gift Set featuring a weekly organiser in the same design…

Or this cute Retro Housewarming Gift Box

Or finally, the popular Little Paper Package No. 2

Happy Spring everyone!

Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

fathers day brunch ideas

Dads LOVE food, especially breakfasts… so for our last Father’s Day related post we’re talking Sunday Brunch!

First up, some ideas for the food…


These are a great idea for a full extended-family Father’s Day brunch because they are much less labour intensive than traditional bacon and eggs for feeding a crowd. There are lots of recipes on the web for these, including this on one of our favourite blogs: Annie’s Eats

image from thenoshery.com


Any breakfast/brunch dish involving steak is definitely going to be popular with the boys! The delicious image below is from The Pioneer Woman; for a more Australasian take on the recipe you could try a Steak Sandwich with Caramalised Onions.

Father's Day Brunch Ideas - Steak Caprese Sandwich


Little cheese and bacon quiches are great for kids to make for their Dad on Father’s Day morning (real men will eat anything their kids make for them!). There is a nice and easy recipe on the kidspot website and they can put their own little spin on it by adding mushrooms, tomatoes etc.

Father's Day brunch - mini quiches

image from thewhitelibrary.com

And doesn’t that bacon look great on a skewer – especially for a buffet-type brunch.


What celebration brunch is complete without a little taste of French Toast? These toast bites look scrummy and will add that great little touch of sweetness to your meal.

fathers day brunch - french toast bites

Click through the image to the recipe from multiplydelicious.com…


An oldy-but-a-goody, pancakes are a brunch staple, and this simple buttermilk pancake recipe from Allyson Gofton is tasty and light. Traditionally served with bacon on the side + maple syrup, or lemon juice + sugar, or apricot jam + whipped cream or…

Fathers Day Brucnch ideas - pancakes

Then, some drinks…

Along with fresh fruit juice and coffee, you could jazz up the occasion with a breakfast cocktail…


fathers day brunch ideas - bloody mary

Bloody Mary’s are popular brunch cocktails in the US, but even if this doesn’t seem like your kind of thing it is worth checking out this blog post on the drink if only for the absolutely beautiful photography.

For a less alcoholic and all-round healthy alternative…


Not all things that are good for you taste bad! This blender full of goodness and vitamins and spinach is wonderful – fresh and fruity and sweet from a dash of honey. You can’t taste the spinach particularly, but it adds a nice fullness and creaminess to the smoothie. Our favourite recipe for a spinach smoothie is Annie’s Eats Green Monster Smoothie.

So, once you’ve got your food or drinks sorted, all you need to do is set the table with a touch of spring, add the folded newspaper or crossword, and spoil your dad, husband, partner with a fabulous Father’s Day brunch.

fathers day brunch table setting idea

And because it’s his special day… you could even let him off the dishes 🙂

Photo Friday – Befores and Afters

Don’t you just love before and after transformations? There’s something really magical about seeing things change. Becoming different but kind-of the same (and usually better than before).

I think it’s part of the appeal of reality TV shows like “The Block” (Prime 7.30pm weeknights). Apart from all the drama going on with the contestants, the fun part is seeing the transformation from wreck…  to room…


before and after transformations


But away from reality-TV-land, real people are doing the same kind of thing…


before and after photos

and AFTER:

And it’s not just whole rooms… it furniture too!


before and after photos


From broken and blah:


before and after photos

To stylish and stunning:


before and after photos

And how about these for some great before and after ideas… from an unloved, unfashionable pieces of furniture to wonderful new toys…


before and after photos


before and after photos


before and after photos

Of course people transform too:


before and after photos

and places:


before and after photos

Shanghai 1990 and 2010

And pie ingredients change into pies:



before and after photos

But sometimes things were better before:

Like before you lost somebody you loved…

Like the painting before the posing…


And sometimes before and after is just scary!!!

Images 3-10, 11-13, 15-16 via Pinterest (click through “after” pictures for links to original authors)

Images 1&2 from channelnine.ninemsn.com.au

Image 13 from Dear Photograph (click through for link)

Mid-Winter Christmas in July


Start with some wintery weather:

Mid-Winter Xmas

Snow on the Beach (Christchurch, 25 July 2011)

Mid-winter xmas

Snow in the Garden (Christchurch, July 25 2011)

Invite your family:

Family Portrait

And/or your friends:


Light the Fire:

Fireplace - mid winter xmas

Set the table:

Spice up some nuts:

Nuts for mid-winter xmas

Sweet and Savoury Spiced Nuts (from notwithoutsalt.com - click through for recipe)

Mull some wine:

Mulled Wine (click through for recipe - or just buy ready-made at the supermarket and heat up:)

Don’t forget to put the Tegal Turkey Roll in the oven:

Mid-winter xmas turkey

Turkey Roll with Cranberry Stuffing (& yummy little sausages wrapped in bacon - click through for recipe)

or the roast veges:

Play some games:

While you steam some pudd:

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Pudding (click through for Ruth Pretty's fab sticky banana puddings with caramel sauce recipe - deliciousness!!)

Or whip up some Egg-Nog Cupcakes:

Egg Nog Cupcakes from annies-eats.net (click through for recipe)

Or assemble something for the kids:

Snowman Cupcakes from meetthedubiens (click thru for Instructions)


Oh… and if you did want to add a gift or two… we know just the place to look:

Gift Ideas

Winter Gift Guide - The Paper Package

Slow Work Day : Distracted by Decals

Vinyl wall decals make a great gift idea – or an easy winter “spruce-up” for your home. Forget messy paint and stencils, these are quick to put up and removable once you’ve grown tired of them. They would make a great gift for people flatting or renting, or for kid’s rooms (where their interests are likely to change every couple of years).

And the selection available nowadays is so great…


Gift ideas for the Kitchen

Chocolate - A Scientific Breakthrough (approx $44.00 NZD incl. postage from US)

Gift Ideas for Kitchen

This Month... (approx $96.00 NZD incl. postage from US)


Gift Ideas for the Home

Sorting Out Life (approx $42.50 NZD incl. postage from US)

Gift Ideas for the Home

Classic Kiwi Clothesline ($120.00 + courier delivery)


Gift Ideas for the Home

Family Tree (approx. $115.00 NZD incl. postage from US - you supply family name & colour scheme)

Gift Ideas for the Home

In This House... (approx. $80.00 incl postage from Canada)

Gift Ideas for the Home

Vintage Family Name (approx. $50.00 NZD incl postage from US - you supply name)

Gift Ideas for the Home

Birds on a Wire (approx. $38.00 NZD incl postage from US - you can specify width)

Gift Ideas for the Home

A Different Drummer (approx. $74.00 incl postage from US)


Gifts for Kids

Woodland Friends (approx $182.00 NZD inc. postage from Singapore)

Gift Ideas for Kids

Definition of a Boy (approx. $36.00 incl postage from US)

Gift Ideas for Kids

Alphabet ($30.00 incl delivery within NZ)


Click on images to be taken through to websites for further details.

We don’t sell any of these products, and aren’t associated in anyway with the shops/products included – we just like what we see!!

Bored Games

One of the first things that a weekend of wet, winter weather can make you think of is board games. Not that actually playing board games is all that great – it’s more the IDEA of playing them that appeals. Sitting around with family or friends, all cozy, having fun. Unfortunately most times that turns out to be a bit of a nostalgic dream… the reality is more like tantrums, up-turned boards and cards flying everywhere, a scrabble board full of 3 & 4 letter words that are impossible to build on and the endless time-stretching monotony of monopoly!

But, despite this, you have to love them…

Do you remember these…


And remember how MAD it made you to get landed on just as you were about to get into home?


Aww, Stratego. Just one question… why?

and Mystery Date!! (1972 edition)

Do you know that these are collectable nowadays? So if you’ve got one sitting around in a cupboard or at the bach don’t throw it out because people will actually pay real (not monopoly) money for it.

Where do you keep yours?

Board games also mean hours spent looking for lost pieces – or the rules – so it’s better if they’re organised…


In a bulging board game bookcase?


Or in a dedicated cupboard (like the Royal Tenebaums)

Wall Art

Wall Art

Or on the wall as artworks (this is a great idea for a kids room – and the pieces are kept in a little plastic bag attached to the back of the board – inspired!)

Vintage Box

Or beautifully organised in a beautiful vintage box.

Remix and Recycle

And if you do lose some pieces, or the games get a bit mixed up don’t despair because help is at hand…

Gift Idea - Board Game Remix Kit

Board Game Remix Kit

This is a fantastic gift idea – a board game remix kit from Hide&Seek (http://www.boardgame-remix-kit.com/). Available as an e-book, traditional book and i-phone app – there are also optional new cards to purchase  (see the photo immediately below).

The Board Game Remix Kit reinvents, tweaks and mashes-up the staple board game stash of Cluedo, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit & Scrabble.

gift idea - board game remix cards

Or you could always try recycling

gift idea - recycled board game notebook


or, if worst comes to worst…

gift wrapping using old board games

Gift Wrapping

You could use the old game boards for some stylish gift wrapping!

Winners and Losers

Here is a current favourite board game…

gift idea - spy alley board game

Spy Alley

It’s great fun (and a great family gift idea). Easy-to-grasp rules, the ability to eliminate players really early on (always makes for more excitement) and best of all, quick to play!

gift idea - table topics family gathering

Table Topics "Family Gathering" edition

And this is another favourite that we sell at The Paper Package. The Table Topics : Family Gathering edition is suitable for all ages in the family and makes a great gift idea for the next time you’ve got the extended family together for a meal or other social occasion.

And not so favourites…

bad gift ideas - thinking mans golf game

A bad, bad gift idea!

According to guyism.com this is one of the “most horrendous board game fails of all time.” It takes all the fun out of the all-ready boring game of golf and puts it on a board for no one to enjoy. You would have to agree that any game that requires you to calculate wind speed & direction can’t be good.

And finally, if food is more your thing then board game fun, take a look at these…

Scrabble Cupcakes

Wonderful and totally worth 8 points! (and if you like these you should also check out their scrabble wedding cake)

All photos via Pinterest (click through for links & credits)

Gift Ideas : Woodland Tales

It’s probably because it’s winter, but we’re really loving woodland themes for gift inspiration & buying decisions this month…

Woodland & Winter Inspired Gift Ideas

We have just had a new arrival of journals and leather gift products arrive from O’Check Design Graphics. I love these products, they’ve got such a great vintage vibe going on… they feel nice as well as looking nice… and they suit the season perfectly.

Added to the website today were these journals…

"Harmony" Library Notebook & O'Check Day Book - Black

These journals make beautiful gifts and really suit vintage-style gift wrapping using tissue, brown paper & twine. They feel like you’re opening up a present from the past!

As well this week we’ve just bought some new “Woodland Tales” knitted toys from Lily & George. These aren’t handmade products, but they kind of feel as though they are with their knitted texture and slightly odd expressions. They haven’t made it onto the website yet… but should be available next week.

Woodland Tales Soft Knitted Rattles

The ONLY issue with them is how on earth does a pink lamb get into a woodland themed animal collection? Strange… but babies probably won’t care & she does have a lovely earnest expression on her face!

Other woodlandy-themed gift ideas that we ♥ …

Felted Wool Squirrel Tea Cozy by fuzzylogicfelt on Etsy

photo from fuzzylogicfelt (etsy.com)

and I don’t even drink tea or have a teapot:)

Handmade Rustic Oak Leaf Tags by peaseblossomstudio on Etsy

Photo via peaseblossomstudio (etsy.com)

These are sold as tags to add to favour boxes for weddings – but they would look great for any winter birthday gift wrapping (or save until Christmas).

Happy Acorn Necklace by marymaryhandmade on Etsy

photo from marymaryhandmade (etsy.com)

The jeweller writes… “The little acorn is happy for now, but has hopes to one day become a big, beautiful oak tree! ” Handmade out of sterling silver, hand detailed, with a matte finish. This could made somebody very happy 🙂

Stags Head Red Tartan Woven Tapestry Cushion Cover Sham by Designer Cushions on Etsy

Photo from designercushions (etsy.com)

These cushion covers are sold on Etsy, made right here in NZ in Matamata. Don’t you love the whole “hunting lodge” vibe. These would look so cozy in your home!

Ruru – An Autumnal Beastie by ellaquaint on Felt

Photo from ellaquaint's shop at felt.co.nz

And every forest needs an owl – so this little Morepork (ruru) adds the perfect touch. From ellaquaint’s shop on Felt, click through the link on image to take a look at their other wonderful birds & beasties!

Tui Brooch by nativecre8ve on Felt

Photo from nativecre8ve's shop at felt.co.nz

Finally, so you can take a bit of the forest with you, a tui brooch made in Rotorua by native cre8ve. These brooches would make a lovely, original gift for $15.00 (including NZ delivery!) Click through the link on the image to visit their shop.

p.s. none of these shops, designers, craftspeople are associated with The Paper Package in any way – I just really like their stuff!